Home Remedy Sharing

How to Love Your Dark Side : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

We all have a side of ourselves (or multiple sides) that we don’t want others to see. You might think of this as your “dark side,” or the Gollum in you (as my friend Adam calls it).

It might be that you procrastinate, waste inordinate amounts of time on a certain site or game, drink or smoke too much, are jealous, ungenerous, critical of others, depressed or lonely.

These are not usually things we want others to see. But what if we tried to embrace our inner Gollum? What if we learned to love our dark side?

This is so against our usual approach that it might seem impossible. Love our inner Gollum? Absurd! We normally want to hide it, get rid of it, cure ourselves and forget everything about it.

But what if, instead, you tried:

  1. Telling someone else about your dark side, allowing some sunshine into this dark area of your life.
  2. Being gentler with yourself, and seeing this side of you through loving eyes. For example, maybe you are tired and are craving a rest, maybe you’re sad and want relief from that sadness. In this way, our dark side is not bad, but a (misguided) loving way to relieve our difficulties.
  3. Try giving yourself some compassion rather than being harsh on yourself about it. If you can wish for an end to your difficulties, and give yourself some love, maybe your dark side doesn’t have to be such a bad thing, just another experience in your life to love.
  4. When you start going to your dark side, pause here and allow yourself to just feel whatever pain you’re feeling, rather than going down your usual path of numbing or running away. Stay in the pain, and feel it fully. Immerse yourself in it, with curiosity and love.
  5. Laugh about your inner Gollum, telling others about it with some humor. It’s just another part of you, nothing to be ashamed of. And admitting it to others helps them connect to you in a more intimate way. Own it, and embrace it.

This won’t “cure” us of anything, but it is a gentler, more loving way of seeing ourselves, and dealing with the difficulties we face. I encourage you to try to love this side of yourself, as I’m trying to do with myself.



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How to Be Happy When You’re in an Unhappy Situation : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

Sometimes life throws you into a miserable situation, and it can seem pretty dark.

Just a few examples of unhappy situations:

  • You lost a loved one
  • You received bad news
  • Your finances are messed up
  • You’re having a bad day at work
  • Your partner is mad at you or has broken up with you
  • You’re sick or really tired
  • You’re in pain
  • Someone has hurt you emotionally

These are terrible, and it’s normal to be pretty unhappy when things like this happen. You might wonder why life sucks so hard. Why can’t things be better?

Often things are out of our control, and we can’t always fix these situations, at least not easily or right away. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness somewhere in that miserable situation.

Happiness is possible, if you learn a few simple techniques:

  1. Allow yourself to be unhappy. When we’re feeling bad, feeling in pain, all we want is to get away from it. Ignore it, pretend you’re fine, comfort yourself from the pain, shield yourself, lash out in defensiveness, numb it with drugs, distract yourself. This is a very human response. But actually, wanting to get away from the unhappiness doesn’t make it better. It usually just prolongs the pain, makes problems worse. Instead, tell yourself that it’s OK to feel unhappy, it’s OK to feel pain. Pause and allow yourself to feel it, to fully be immerse in that unhappiness. See that it’s OK, and be curious about it, explore it, become intimate with it. It’s not pleasant, but it doesn’t kill you. And in fact, it’s where the healing starts, where growth happens.
  2. See the pain as aliveness. Now that you’re face-to-face with the pain and misery, now that you’re touching it and intimate with it … see that in fact, it is a tender feeling of being alive. Life isn’t numbness and avoidance (at least, not exclusively), and it’s not all butterflies and sunshine. Being alive means feeling pain, feeling fear, feeling disconnected sometimes. Allow yourself to feel it, and imagine that this is what living feels like. Yeah, you could say, “That sucks,” or you could say, “What an interesting experience, being alive.” It’s like bungie jumping or how I imagine it would feel if you discovered you could fly: full of fear, excitement, shock and joy. That is an incredible experience. You’re having one of those right now.
  3. Find gratitude somewhere. Being fully alive, being fully immersed in this experience of this moment … what is there to be grateful for? Even small things, like the sight of leaves outside trembling in the wind or someone laughing nearby. Or things we take for granted, like eyesight and music. Having relationships. Being supported by millions of people. Being able to do all the things you can do. The taste of a strawberry or the smell of food being cooked. Your breath. You can find gratitude for any of these things, at any time, including right now. Find three happy things in this moment to be grateful for.
  4. Find joy in being alive. You are alive! You should be singing from the hilltops. Even in our worst moments, we can find some joy in this not-small fact, that we are alive. Your heart is pumping. How freakin’ awesome is that?

Yeah, I know. It’s hard. I’m not saying that doing this will magically make everything better. But there’s always joy to be found in every moment, if we dare to look.



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Develop Resiliency: How to Move Towards Your Fears : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

One of the things we tend to do habitually is move away from things we’re afraid of. How very human, how very loving, to protect ourselves!

Unfortunately that tendency to avoid fears is exactly what limits us.

We avoid our fear of pain, humiliation, anxiety, looking stupid, failing … and we develop all kinds of ways to protect ourselves, from walling ourselves off from danger and being overwhelmed, to avoiding difficult conversations, difficult projects, and any situations where we might flop on our faces.

But how can we connect with others in an intimate way if we avoid being vulnerable? How can we become more loving in our relationships if we avoid putting our pride aside and having those scary conversations?

How can we ever push into a new project, start a new business, pursue what we love … if we constantly put it off for fear of looking like an idiot?

How can we learn anything if we look for certainty and avoid uncertainty? You can’t learn chess (for example) without playing a bunch of games and losing them … so we avoid real learning and just read about it. Real learning is postponed while we shirk from uncertainty.

We want someone to give us the magic answer, when the real answer is that we have to become uncomfortable, we have to work hard, we have to allow ourselves to feel fear.

So the answer is to stop running. Instead, move towards the fear.

When you are feeling afraid of going to a social event, move towards that fear. Do it, and don’t allow yourself to run.

When you notice yourself wanting to avoid a conversation, steel yourself up and freakin’ initiate it.

When you are procrastinating on the hard stuff, open your hear to it and move towards it.

The fear you feel, the anxiety … it is your beacon. It is the place you should go to, instead of moving away from.

The fear is the place where you’ll grow. It’s where you’ll learn, and love, and connect, and become free of all your old limitations.

The fear sucks. And yet it is the most beautiful place in the world. Learn to love the beautiful suck, and be in that place whenever you can possibly stand it.

A Few Notes

I want to share a few things with you guys:



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The Building Self-Discipline Challenge : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

I’m issuing a challenge, to anyone who’d like to work out their self-discipline muscle, who’d like some mental training:

Pick one self-discipline task to do for five minutes, every day this month.

Commit to doing it publicly, or at least to a few friends or loved ones. Report to them weekly.

If you’d like to join me, I’m offering a video course called Building Self-Discipline in my Sea Change Program. I’ll have two video lessons a week, forum discussions on each lesson, a weekly challenge reporting thread, and a live video webinar, all on the topic of building self-discipline. Join the program today to start taking the course.

Or you can do the challenge on your own — commit on Facebook or Twitter, for example, and report every week to hold yourself accountable. The self-discipline muscle can get stronger with daily workouts, or weaker with disuse.

Why This Challenge is Important

So many of us suffer from problems that are caused by a lack of self-discipline:

  • Procrastinating on work and falling behind, which causes us to be overwhelmed and stressed out, unhappy at work, doing less-than-stellar work
  • Putting off exercise and eating right, which can cause all kinds of long-term health problems
  • Putting off dealing with our finances, which just makes the financial problems worse and worse
  • Putting off dealing with our relationships, having difficult conversations, which can lead to all kinds of difficulties
  • Getting into a funk of distraction, laziness, guilt, depression, loneliness, and self-hatred
  • Putting off writing that novel, creating a business, working on a dream project

Not fun stuff. If those are our problems, then it’s helpful to stop and really feel the pain that we’re causing ourselves. Feel the difficulties, the struggles, the piling up of problems. When we stop and consider all of this, then taking five minutes a day to help ourselves build a muscle that will make our lives better is not too much to ask. It’s actually a loving act.

How to Succeed at the Challenge

It’s easy to commit to a challenge, and then fail. That doesn’t feel so great. It just reinforces your belief that you don’t have self-discipline.

So, because I like you, I’d like to share some tips for succeeding at the challenge:

  1. Understand your Why. Are you doing it so you can start turning your life around? To improve your health? To finally pursue your dream? You have to want it, dude.
  2. Have reminders around you so you don’t forget. Put up a note somewhere, or several places. Put a reminder on your computer or phone.
  3. Ask for someone in your life to support you. Could be a roommate, spouse, best friend, your kids, a parent. Ask them to remind you, to ask you about it regularly, to encourage you when you feel like quitting.
  4. Make the task really easy. In fact, you could challenge yourself just to start every day. If you want to meditate, for example, then your challenge might be to just get your butt on the cushion. Make it so easy you can’t say no.
  5. Trick yourself into doing it. When we procrastinate, we often talk ourselves out of doing something: “Oh, just one more video on Youtube won’t hurt!” But for this challenge, talk yourself into doing it: “Just one pushup, then I can watch that video.”
  6. See this as a way to build a good relationship with yourself. You’re building trust, after ruining that trust for so long. Each time you are about to do your challenge for the day, just tell yourself, “I keep promises to myself. I am worthy of my own trust.”
  7. If you do mess up or are forced to miss a day (or two), don’t let it ruin the challenge. It’s a bump in the road. How sucky would cars be if they crashed with every bump in the road? Instead, just hit the bump and keep going. Learn from it. Do whatever it takes to get back on track.

I’ll share many more tips for success in my Sea Change course, Building Self-Discipline. Sign up today and become an absolute discipline maniac!



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Home remedies for snoring: 7 natural home remedies to stop snoring

Snoring

Snoring may not be considered as a disease but it is a serious issue and a problem for your partner. Although snoring is normal and everyone snores now and then, heavy snoring can have medical and social effects. Snoring happens when the tissue of your throat, in a relaxed state, starts vibrating and making noise during sleep. If the snoring is severe, it can lead to insomnia, disrupt sleep patterns and cause irritability. It may also indicate that the person may have sleep apnea, which ups the risk of heart disease. Several products are available in the market to stop snoring. However, there are many simple and effective home remedies to rectify the issue. Here are some of the effective, natural home remedies against snoring. (ALSO READ Home remedies for gas: 7 natural remedies to get rid of gas and bloating).

1. Inhale steam

Inhale steam
Inhale steam

One of the reasons for snoring is nasal congestion and inhaling steam is the best treatment for this.

Method: Take a container of hot water. Inhale the steam through your nose for around 10 minutes. You can also use a towel to hold it over your head. Do this before you go to bed.

2. Spearmint and fenugreek

Snoring can also occur due to digestive problems. Spearmint and fenugreek are excellent home remedies against snoring caused by digestive issues. Fenugreek also is effective against sleep apnea.

Method: Take a few fenugreek seeds and soak it in water for half an hour and then drink it before you hit the bed. You can also mix a teaspoon of fenugreek powder in a glass of water and drink this solution before sleeping. Spearmint tea is another option you can try.

3. Olive Oil and honey

Olive oil and honey
Olive oil and honey

Olive oil and honey contain anti-inflammatory properties, which help ease the obstruction in the respiratory tract and reduce the swelling. They also lubricate the throat and reduce snoring.

Method: Take half a teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix it properly and drink it before going to bed. You can also add a tablespoon of honey to a glass of water and drink it before bed.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a great home remedy against snoring as it keeps our immune system healthy and keeps the sinuses clear.

Method:  Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. You can consume pineapple, broccoli and papaya.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric
Turmeric

Turmeric contains antibiotic and antiseptic properties, which help cure the inflammation and snoring. It will help ease breathing and improve your immunity.

Method: Take a glass of warm milk and add in two tablespoon of turmeric. Mix well and drink it before going to bed.

6. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil is one of the most effective remedy for snoring. It will also help fight chest congestion and clear your nose.

Method: Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the steam inhaler and inhale the steam before hitting the bed. You can also use a container of hot water to inhale steam. Take a bowl of hot water and add in about five drops of eucalyptus oil and inhale the steam. Cover your head with a towel to make it more effective.

7. Garlic

Garlic
Garlic

Garlic is a miracle herb and is quite effective in clearing the respiratory system. It prevents the buildup of mucus in the nasal passage and reduces snoring.

Method: Take a few garlic cloves and chew it. Now, drink a glass of water to swallow the garlic. Do this before going to bed. You can also add extra garlic to your food.

Home Remedy Sharing

The Unexpected Pleasures of a More Than a Decade of Reading Harry Potter : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

Recently, I finished reading Book 7 of the Harry Potter series with my youngest daughter Noelle. We cried, laughed, gasped in shock, cried some more.

It was quite a journey, reading all seven books with her, and it took us four or five years.

Amazingly, it was my fourth time through the series. I read all 7 books with four of my kids, taking several years each time through.

I absolutely love the Harry Potter series, and have had the immense pleasure and honor of reading it to my kids, learning new things each time, finding new pleasures with each one, rediscovering details I’d forgotten, falling in love with the characters all over again each time.

Reading the series with four kids brought me some unexpected pleasures:

  1. I started reading it with my eldest daughter, Chloe, when she was in elementary school. Probably 17 years ago or so. It began a lifelong love affair with Harry Potter for Chloe — she eventually fell in love with the actor who played Harry in the movies, Daniel Radcliffe, though she might not want me to tell you that, and we saw him in a Broadway play in New York after she graduated high school. I was there at the beginning of that love affair with the series, and sharing that with her has always been something special for me.
  2. Chloe and I used to wait for each new book to come out, which was a delicious pleasure of anticipation. She was always so excited to read, but my time to read with her was limited —- she was only with me a few nights a week, I worked full time and was doing freelance writing, and I had a bunch of younger kids to help take care of. So she had to wait as we made agonizingly slow progress through the last couple of books, despite the nail-biting excitement of the plots.
  3. Reading with Chloe gave me the pleasure of discovering things about her, as we read together … she was able to grasp complex vocabulary at a young age, understand difficult plots, and seemed to pick up on subtle relationship dynamics in the book that I didn’t think she’d understand. She had a deep sense of empathy for the characters, and a tender heart that I saw as we read through emotional parts of the book. What a lovely thing, sharing that with her.
  4. We started when Chloe was in elementary school, but didn’t finish until she was 15 (we had to wait for the books to come out, and we took long to read them) … that meant that we would bond together reading in bed in a way that I might not have done with a teen-age daughter normally. By that age, they often start to grow apart from you, but reading with Chloe helped us stay close.
  5. I remember crying as I read some of the more emotional parts (like the deaths of some characters, who shall remain unnamed for the sake of avoiding spoilers), with all the kids, but Chloe was the first. My voice would crack with emotion, and at times tears would flow down my face as I read. Chloe cried with me. It was like losing family members.
  6. When I picked up the series again with my son Rain (who is now an adult in college), it was a completely different experience. It felt more like going on an adventure with him, and sharing in that adventure was so much fun. I’d already forgotten lots about the earlier books, and so it was also a process of rediscovery, which was a delight!
  7. As with Chloe, when I read the series with Rain, it became a shared experience, something we did together while he was a kid (into middle school) that we’ll always have. He’s an adult now, but those times reading with him were some of my favorite experiences with him.
  8. Rain remembers the two of us falling asleep together when we read the book sometimes. Sleep was actually a big theme for me as I read to all the kids … I’ve become infamous in their eyes for falling asleep while reading to them. It’s as if the books cast a stunning spell on me, perhaps.
  9. When I read with Seth, it was a new experience as well. He had such enthusiasm for the books, it was so much fun. He bought Harry Potter wands and would cast spells. He really liked using Avada Kedavra (the killing curse) on me, which I patiently explained (as a ghost, I guess) was patricide. He seemed unbothered by that, as he kept cursing me.
  10. Seth also liked to dress as Harry, robes and glasses and all. I loved being a part of his fantasy world, bringing it to life every time we read.
  11. When Seth and I finished the series, it was satisfying but also left a hole in our lives. We started reading Lord of the Rings, which is awesome but without the same emotional connection, I think. Noelle and I are looking for a series now … I think we’re going to read the Unwanteds.
  12. With Noelle, she brings an innocence to the reading experience that I really love. It’s a freshness, a wonder, an excitement. It reminds me of reading with Chloe. Each kid’s personality comes out in different ways in these shared experiences.
  13. As with the other kids, Noelle and I read the books in spurts. We’d get interrupted by travel or visitors or holidays, then pick it up again, letting the memories of what happened the last time we read flood back into our minds, as if we were looking at memories in the pensieve. When things got exciting, sometimes we’d read two or even three times a day, trying to read as much as possible. It was if the thread of the books were woven in strange and magical ways into our lives.

That’s what Harry Potter was for me, with all the kids: a magical thread woven into the last 15+ years of my life, weaving me and each child together in unexpected, joyful ways. There have been lots of other experiences weaving us together — being part of a large family, traveling together, riding bikes and playing in the park, playing boardgames and werewolf, cooking together and spending time with other loved ones. Harry Potter was like all of that, except with wands.

That part of my life is over now, which brings a bit of sadness in my heart. I hope to read the series with my grandkids one day. I will always cherish the magic experience I shared with my kids.

p.s. I didn’t read the series with my two other kids, Justin and Maia, because Eva wanted to read them with them, and it saddens me that I didn’t have that with them. But I have my own shared experiences with them, and love them just the same.



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The Perfect System : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

Most of us are constantly looking for the Perfect System:

  • The perfect morning routine
  • The perfect system for dealing with email
  • The perfect system for productivity, to end procrastination
  • The perfect system for finances or building wealth
  • The perfect system for learning anything
  • The perfect system for being mindful, getting fit, losing weight, decluttering, building new habits, being a parent, building a new career, and on and on

Entire industries are built off of this desire to find the perfect system for anything that you have uncertainty about.

I know, because I’ve spent a good deal of my life looking for the Perfect System in so many areas. I’ve developed nearly perfect systems in many parts of my life.

But today, I’m going to share something I’ve worked years developing: my Perfect System.

Perfect System for what? For anything, my friend. Anything in life. All of it.

But first, let’s look at why other systems fail.

Why All Other Systems are Crushed

You can put your morning routine into the perfect order, but it won’t solve your problems. Why not? Because it doesn’t address your root problem. It’s only a surface solution.

The root problem is uncertainty.

Let me repeat that, because it’s the key to all of this: the root problem we’re trying to solve when we’re looking for the perfect system in any area of our life is uncertainty.

Does your day feel chaotic, overwhelming, uncontrolled? Then you try to address that chaos by finding a perfect system.

Are you entering a new, scary area in your life? Then you try to find out how others conquered the uncertainty of this area, what their perfect system was. You’d probably be willing to pay hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, for their perfect system.

Are you overwhelmed by email, social media, finances, habits, diet and exercise, clutter, and more? Then you try to deal with the chaos and uncertainty of all of that by buying a book, a program, a course that teaches you the perfect system. I have a few to sell you.

But the certainty you’re looking for doesn’t come, no matter how much you pay. No matter what system you try. It might seem like it at first, so you feel some temporary relief. But in the end, the uncertainty comes back, because you still don’t know what the hell you’re doing. The fear arises. You search some more.

Uncertainty, and the fear and discomfort that arises from uncertainty, will always be there, unless you’re doing something you absolutely know how to do (like watching TV, checking Facebook or playing games). And who wants to only do the easy stuff in life? You’ll never learn anything new, never push into greatness, always run from the fear.

Doing the easy stuff and running from the fear doesn’t work anyway. You still have uncertainty, but you try to ignore it, assuage it with the distractions.

All other systems but mine are crushed by uncertainty, fear, discomfort, and running from these difficulties.

The Perfect System to Crush All Others

OK, so now we see why the other systems are all weak, scrawny, laughable attempts at making our lives better. We scoff at them!

I have a system that will destroy all others, crush them like soft peaches. The Perfect System.

I am going to give it to you for free. Unfortunately, it won’t work for you unless you’re willing to push yourself a bit and do a bit of work. I realize that means it’s not perfect for most of you, who want something easy and certain. You are not worthy of my Perfect System, so don’t read it.

The rest of you (both of you), read on!

Here’s the system:

  1. Notice when you are looking for certainty from a system, course, book, and so on. Notice when you’re procrastinating or running to distraction because of uncertainty.
  2. Acknowledge that you are feeling uncertainty. That you are trying to find certainty.
  3. Say to yourself, “Certainty is the enemy of awesome. Uncertainty is the fuel for an amazing life.” Repeat it until you believe it. Say it with gusto, zest and verve! Yell it out loud until your neighbors look up from their phones in dismay!
  4. Resolve yourself to not run from uncertainty like a coward, but to face it like a warrior, like a goddess, like a Jedi Ninja Pirate Demigod.
  5. Stay with the feeling of fear and uncertainty. It is uncomfortable. You laugh at the discomfort in derision, laugh at its pathetic attempts at making you flee.
  6. Push further into uncertainty and fear by doing whatever you are afraid of. Feel the fear. Feel the uncertainty. Feel it transforming you into a powerful being, trembling with the discomfort of being amazing and delicious. Cry out from the pain of it all, the pain of being beautiful and alive, the pain of joining with the likes of Odysseus and Genghis Khan and Joan of Arc, the anguish of your divinity, the pangs and torment of becoming a celestial deity.

Repeat until whatever you’re doing becomes comfortable. Then push into new uncertain territory, feeling the groundlessness of growth and learning and fearlessness.

You no longer need to run. You can stay in courage and awesomeness.

You no longer need to find certainty or answers or systems. You have all you need inside you, bursting with light and goodness, shining your powers into the vast and tremulous universe.



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A Guide to Fear Mastery : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

We normally think of fear as something that’s holding us back, or something to be avoided … but what if we could see it as a powerful tool?

What if we could master that tool? We’d become masters at life, able to push through fears of rejection, failure, ridicule, and more.

Fear is normally like a barrier for us, keeping us from doing awesome things in life. Or if we push up against that barrier, we see the fear as making the experience miserable, and cringe because of it.

But in truth, fear is a useful thing. Once upon a time, fear was a signal to run from a lion or some other danger, and that was pretty useful. These days, we don’t usually have much physical danger (the lions have more to fear from us), but the same fear signals still happen, even when we’re trying to pursue our dreams or becoming vulnerable to other people.

These days, the fears aren’t physical — they’re more about not being good enough. Here are the top fears in a survey I did earlier this year:

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of being inadequate
  3. Fear of rejection
  4. Fear of not being prepared
  5. Fear of being a fraud
  6. Fear of ridicule

You might notice that they are all really the same fear. The fear of not being good enough — if we’re not good enough (inadequate), we might fail, we might get rejected, we might be ridiculed, we might be found a fraud, we might need preparation because without it we won’t be adequate. Our deepest and most common fear is that we’re not good enough. That’s not physical danger, it’s all internal.

So fear, then, is no longer a signal that we should run.

Instead, fear is a useful signal that we should go toward something.

Let’s find out how.

Freedom & the Wall of Fear

Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some kind of wall … on the other side of the wall is some kind of freedom.

This is a freedom we desire, and that’s a healthy thing to want that kind of freedom. But we push up against the fear, and it can hold us back because our normal response is to avoid that wall of fear. By avoiding it, we remain on the side of the wall where we stay comfortable, where we know what we’re doing, where things are easy. We’re trapped by that wall of fear, as long as we keep avoiding it.

What would happen if we pushed through that wall? We’d have freedom: the freedom to connect with others in a vulnerable way, to put ourselves out there and pursue the life of meaning we really want, to publish books and websites and podcasts and poems, to explore the world or create a non-profit organization, to make friends and love with an open heart.

Freedom is on the other side of the wall of fear. So when we feel fear, it’s actually a signal that we should go toward the fear.

Yes, it’s difficult. But avoiding it doesn’t work. It just causes more difficulty. Instead, we can go inward, and see the turmoil that’s in there that the fear is signaling, go into our cave of darkness and process whatever’s in there. That means looking at how we think we’re not good enough, trying to learn to love ourselves, learning to trust ourselves to be OK even if we get rejected or if we fail.

And we can also courageously take action, in the presence of fear.

Acting in the Face of Fear

Just because fear is present, doesn’t mean we have to run. In fact, we can practice acting mindfully even with fear in our bodies.

The practice is to notice that there’s fear, and notice our habitual reaction. Stay with the fear, and notice how it feels as a physical sensation. Notice that it’s not so bad, that we can actually be OK in the middle of that physical sensation. It’s just hormones in our bodies, just an energy of excitement.

Being in the moment, we can take action: write a book, have a conversation, go to a social event, get on stage. We can immerse ourselves fully in the moment, feeling the fear in our bodies but still doing the action.

Fear is a worry about the future, which doesn’t exist. Noticing that, we can turn back to the present moment: what’s here in front of us. We can be grateful for what’s in front of us. We can smile at it, and take action.

This takes practice. Try it now. Practice it every day: go toward whatever scares you, repeatedly. Lean into the fear. Be courageous, pushing through the wall of fear into the freedom of openness

Listen to Me on the Rich Roll Podcast

I had the honor of sitting down with the awesome Rich Roll on his popular podcast … check it out:

Rich Roll Podcast: Leo Babauta’s Mission to End Human Struggle: Ruminations on Suffering, Simplicity & the Power of Mindfulness

It was an absolute joy, and Rich is such an incredible person. I hope you enjoy the podcast.



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The 5 Keys to Forming Any Habit : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

We all struggle with our habits — sticking to them, staying motivated, getting started, dealing with disruptions, it can become a big struggle.

And yet, to change our habits is to change our lives. If we can’t make habit changes, we will be stuck in our current way of doing things, which might not be so helpful.

If you want to lose weight, beat procrastination, write a book, get fit, live mindfully … you have to develop habits.

Luckily, the process is simpler than most people realize. Simple, not easy: you have to be committed and really want to make the change. Otherwise you’ll just quit when things get difficult.

Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: just choose one habit for now. Yes, you’ll want to change a bunch of things. Don’t ignore my advice. Later, you can form more, but for now, focus on just one.

With that in mind, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start super small. I’ve said this a million times on this blog, so you might gloss over this one — but don’t. It’s the most important thing. Do one habit at a time, and do it super small. How small? Just meditate for 2 minutes. Just write for 5 minutes. Just do 5 pushups or 5 sun salutations. Just eat one vegetable a day. If you start small, you remove the resistance to starting, which is the hardest part. I used to tell myself, “Just put on your shoes and get out the door,” and that’s how I formed my running habit, and I ended up running several marathons and an ultramarathon because of this small habit. For meditation, I tell myself, “Just get your butt on the cushion.” For drawing, just get out your pad & pencil.
  2. Remove choice. Don’t think about it — make a decision ahead of time to do it every day at the same time for at least a month, then each day, don’t make it a decision. Just start. Have a trigger that’s already in your daily life (like waking up, or showering, brushing your teeth, starting the coffee maker, eating lunch, whatever) and use that as the trigger for an when/then statement: “When I wake up, I’ll meditate for 2 minutes.” Put written reminders near where the trigger happens. The main point is: make the decision to do it every day, and then just do it without thinking.
  3. Get some accountability. Have at least one person you report to — an accountability partner. Or a group of friends. Or a walking/running partner. It doesn’t matter how you set it up, but having someone to report to means you are much more likely to push yourself past resistance when it comes up.
  4. Make it fun, find gratitude. Don’t just do the habit as if it were a chore. See if you can enjoy it. How can you make it fun, play, joyous? Can you find gratitude in the middle of your workout? The habit is much more likely to stick if you focus on the parts you enjoy, rather than mindlessly try to check it off your to-do list.
  5. Be committed. Why are you doing this habit? Reflect on this during the first week, as you do the habit. What deeper reason do you have? Are you doing this habit to help others? As an act of self-love, so that you can be healthier or happier? If you’re just doing it because you think you should, or because it sounds cool, you won’t really push past the resistance.

You can start with just the first item above, but I would recommend adding as many of the other four as you can during your first week or two, because you’ll be increasing your odds of success with each one.

This is doable. You can change your old ways by consciously doing something new repeatedly, until it’s a habit. Take small steps to get started, remove choice so you don’t think about whether to start or not, get some accountability and understand your motivation so you push past resistance, and find gratitude in the midst of the action.

One habit, done daily. Small steps with intention, support and a smile. It can make all the difference in the world.



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Home Remedy Sharing

Finding Beauty in Every Freakin’ Moment, No Matter What : zen habits


By Leo Babauta

How often are we anxious, frustrated, looking forward to something coming up, unhappy with ourselves, unhappy with others?

How often are we not happy with what’s going on in this present moment?

What if we could, instead, be completely in love with this moment?

What if, no matter what happened, we could find the beauty, joy, and gratitude in the moment as it happens?

Let’s make it so.

Rejecting the Experience

There are lots of very good reasons to reject our current experience:

  1. We have too much to do, and it is overwhelming.
  2. We have been hurt by someone else.
  3. We have deep doubts about ourselves, and wish we could be different.
  4. The situation is filled with uncertainty and fear.
  5. Someone is being inconsiderate and rude.
  6. There is injustice in the world.
  7. We are faced with discrimination, racism, sexism, prejudice, ignorance.
  8. We are poor, deeply in debt, struggling.
  9. We are lonely, alone, with no prospects of finding a partner.
  10. We are in pain.
  11. We have chronic pain or a terminal illness.

Those are hard things. In fact, if we contemplate some of these horrible situations, it doesn’t take much to see that the smaller problems of our daily lives don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Given these kinds of difficulties (and more), how can I talk about finding beauty in the present moment?

The problem isn’t the situation. We’ll always face difficult situations in life, some dire and drastic, others small and irritating, but we can’t rid our lives of difficulty, pain and struggle.

The problem is that we reject whatever we face. It’s not good enough, it’s not wanted, it’s not welcome. I don’t want it that way … I want it that way.

That’s the problem: we reject the parts of our experience we don’t like, and wish for ideals instead.

Again … we can’t rid our lives of pain and difficulty. The problem isn’t the external situation, which will always be less than ideal. If we wish for an ideal life, free of our problems, we’ll be wishing until we die.

Given that we’ll never have the ideal situation … can we make the most of what we’ve been given?

Can we stop rejecting the gift of the life we’ve been given, and find beauty in it instead?

Let’s see how.

Finding Beauty in Pain

What good is there in someone angry with us, and us angry with them? How can we find joy in something as sucky as that?

Try this:

  1. Pause, and notice how your body is feeling.
  2. Stay with the feeling in your body with curiosity.
  3. Welcome the feeling. Invite it to tea.
  4. See that you are both suffering through pain, difficulty, fear, and tenderness in this moment. See that you’re connected through your pain and tenderness.
  5. Make a wish for relief of difficulty: “May I find peace. May they also find peace.” In this way, you are finding compassion for yourself, which is beautiful … and compassion for the other human being, which is also beautiful. It shifts you from worried about your self-concern, to wanting to ease the pain of the both of you.
  6. Find gratitude for what you do have: you are alive, you are connected with other human beings, you can love and appreciate flowers, music, the clouds and the gentle breeze and sunlight.

Every moment, even the most painful, have some kind of beauty, even if it is the simple fact that you are connected to all others who are in pain. You can feel the tenderness of your heart under your fear frustration and pain, and this tenderness is connected to all other human hearts. Everyone, around the world, has this good, tender heart too. This connection to human lives is beautiful.

Every moment is filled with learning, with strength, with love underneath the fear.

Yes, if you are unsafe, get yourself to safety as an act of love for yourself. But you don’t have to have hatred in your heart for the sonofabitch who has hurt you. They are suffering too, and though you don’t have to put up with their abuse, you can wish them peace, for the sake of the peace of your own heart. Take care of yourself, and that includes moving from fear and hatred to love and compassion.

Yes, if you are in constant pain, this is not easy. No one is claiming pain is easy. Who signed up for an easy life? By taking on your pain with patience, forbearance and strength, you are a shining example of love for all others. By taking on this pain, you are developing a capacity to help others with their pain. By taking in pain, you can find a place of joy in the midst of pain, a place of joy you can share with others.

Take the pain and turn it into art, into caring for others, into a heartrending song of life.

The Commitment to Live Fully

When we reject pain, sorrow, anger and loss … we are saying we don’t want all of our lives. We only want the good parts.

What I’m suggesting is that we fully engage with each and every moment. We don’t run, reject or avoid.

We embrace life fully.

We live fully in the groundlessness of our uncertainty and loss, the groundlessness of our anger and sorrow, the groundlessness of our pain. Instead of wishing for a stable, perfect moment … we learn to love the groundlessness and uncertainty of the moment we actually have.

We allow ourselves to fully feel whatever we’re feeling, without rejecting it, seeing this groundless tenderness as the enlightened energy of our lives.

We see this tenderness in our heart, in the midst of groundlessness, as goodness that is in us and everything around us.

We become fully present with an open heart, in full surrender to everything we experience. We reject nothing, and embrace everything.

We see everything as the path to joy and beauty. Everything is filled with goodness, if only we learn to see it as such. If we don’t see it, we only need to look closer.

We see every difficulty as our teacher. Every struggle has a lesson, every loss is a master class in becoming open and letting go of attachment, every pain is a way to touch our tender hearts. Any struggle and any difficult person is a teacher, if we embrace them as such.

Whenever we find ourselves wishing something were different … we use this as a touchstone to coming back to the moment and being fully with it, not rejecting it. Coming back and finding the beauty and goodness. Coming back and seeing this as our teacher.

When we begin to live each moment fully, we start to open up to a vast spacious awareness and beauty. It’s as if we wake up out of a dream to see the incredible mountains that have been in front of us the entire time.

It’s love, this thing in front of us. We just need to step fully into it, and feel the heart-breaking beauty of this love that we call life.



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